Dental Implant Surgery

A Permanent Tooth Replacement Procedure; an Alternative to Bridges and Partials

Copyright © ; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission; Author’s Google profile; Posted April 17, 2013

X-ray of a dental implant titanium post; image courtesy DRosenbach


Dental implant surgery is a permanent method of replacing missing teeth. For patients that are good candidates for the procedure, it eliminates many of the inconveniences that accompany more traditional methods such as bridges.

I’ve been curious about the process for a while, but yesterday I got my first real taste of it as I spent an hour or so in Dr. Das' office at Clear Lake Dental Care. This article chronicles my experience; yours may differ depending on your particular situation.

Long story short—back in the 70s while I was in the Air Force I had a small altercation involving the heavy end of a pool cue. The result was a root canal and a crown. It was supposed to be temporary but lasted until recently.

It just goes to show how good mil-spec medical materials are. Anyway, when I finally lost it the “stub” had a vertical crack so there was no saving it.

Are You a Candidate for a Tooth Implant?

As with most things in life, every person is not right for every procedure. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are a few conditions to consider:

  • Obviously, you need to replace a tooth that is missing, damaged, or has cosmetic issues.

  • You need to not have any medical conditions that might prevent satisfactory bone healing.

  • You will need sufficient jaw bone depth and width in which to secure the titanium anchoring rod.

  • You must be willing to invest several months from beginning to completion; it takes time for the bone to fuse with the anchor rod. Don’t worry, you will have a temporary crown during this period.

The Surgical Procedure

The initial step is an appointment for x-rays and an exam to determine whether the patient is a good candidate. Next, an appointment is set for the first stage of the procedure.

There are various methods of anesthesia used. I used the injection and nitrous oxide (N2O or laughing gas) method although sedation was also an option. Next came the tooth extraction which I didn’t even notice. This can be an easy or a difficult process. As Dr. Das told me, you never know what you are going to run into.

Next came drilling the hole into my jaw. This process seemed to take the longest, but what did I know? I was under the influence of happy gas! It didn’t make me laugh but it certainly put me in a this-ain’t-so-bad frame of mind.

The next step was inserting the titanium rod, which will effectively serve as the tooth’s “root”. After that, the abutment was placed on the rod. Finally, a temporary crown was secured to the abutment.

The next step will be a follow-up appointment in a week to make sure everything is proceeding according to plan. Finally, all that’s left is attaching the permanent crown. This will be done in about five months. Why the wait? Two reasons—to allow the bone to fuse with the implant and to allow the gum to stabilize following the extraction.

How Expensive is a Dental Implant?

It wasn’t as bad as I thought. Although every case is different, my payment was reasonable after the insurance took care of their end. The total (before insurance) was about $3,300. More than a bridge? I suspect so, but it is permanent and doesn’t have all the drawbacks.

Also, this was good timing. Like many other people, I might lose my medical insurance with the advent of Obamacare. Also, the Obamacare medical device tax, currently a 2.3 percent tax on medical device companies poisons everything it touches, just like every other government money grab.

Choosing a Dentist

This is probably one of the most important parts of the process. One way is to consult Angie’s List for local consumer reviews. Check the List!

It is a simple matter to do your homework via the internet; almost every business has a web presence today. The site of the doctor I chose reports, “In the past 12 years, Dr. Das has placed and restored over 4000 implants, and has accumulated thousands of hours of post-graduate implant studies, including advanced Bone Regeneration therapies and the Teeth in an Hour Protocol.”

We do our research when we buy cars or homes, should health care be any different?

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